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President Obama Delays ACLU's al-Marri Case

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January 22, 2009

In addition to signing the order to close Guantánamo, President Obama also asked the Supreme Court for a 30-day extension to file the government's brief in our case, al-Marri v. Spagone. The order (PDF) states:

Because he is not held at Guantánamo Bay, al-Marri is not covered by the review mandated in the [Guantánamo order]. Yet it is equally in the interests of the United States that the executive branch undertake a prompt and thorough review of the factual and legal basis for al-Marri's continued detention, and identify and thoroughly evaluate alternative dispositions.

Jonathan Hafetz, lead counsel in the al-Marri case, said in a statement today:

We welcome review of Mr. al-Marri's status because any objective review must conclude that his current detention as an 'enemy combatant' is undoubtedly unlawful. At the government's request, we had already agreed to a 30-day extension for the government to file its brief in the Supreme Court, but we will vigorously oppose any request that delays resolution of the case beyond the current Supreme Court term ending in June. Mr. al-Marri has been illegally detained for 5 1/2 years in solitary confinement. We fully expect his detention to be struck down upon review by the Supreme Court.

You can learn more about the al-Marri case at

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